Magenta (/məˈɛntə/) is a colour that is variously defined as purplish-red,[1] reddish-purple or mauvish-crimson.[2] On colour wheels of the RGB (additive) and CMY (subtractive) colour models, it is located exactly midway between red and blue. It is one of the four colours of ink used in colour printing by an inkjet printer, along with yellow, black, and cyan, to make all the other colours. The tone of magenta used in printing is called "printer's magenta".

About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#FF00FF
sRGBB  (rgb)(255, 0, 255)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(0, 100, 0, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v)(300°, 100%, 100%)
SourceCSS Color Module Level 3
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

Magenta took its name from an aniline dye made and patented in 1859 by the French chemist François-Emmanuel Verguin, who originally called it fuchsine. It was renamed to celebrate the Italian-French victory at the Battle of Magenta fought between the French and Austrians on June 4, 1859, near the Italian town of Magenta in Lombardy.[3][4] A virtually identical colour, called roseine, was created in 1860 by two British chemists: Chambers Nicolson and George Maule.

The web colour magenta is also called fuchsia.

In optics and colour scienceEdit

Magenta is an extra-spectral colour, meaning that it is not a hue associated with monochromatic visible light. Magenta is associated with perception of spectral power distributions concentrated mostly in longer wavelength reddish components and shorter wavelength blueish components.[5]

In the RGB colour system, used to create all the colours on a television or computer display, magenta is a secondary colour, made by combining equal amounts of red and blue light at a high intensity. In this system, magenta is the complementary colour of green, and combining green and magenta light on a black screen will create white.

In the CMYK colour model, used in colour printing, it is one of the three primary colours, along with cyan and yellow, used to print all the rest of the colours. If magenta, cyan, and yellow are printed on top of each other on a page, they make black. In this model, magenta is the complementary colour of green, and these two colours have the highest contrast and the greatest harmony. If combined, green and magenta ink will look dark gray or black. The magenta used in colour printing, sometimes called process magenta, is a darker shade than the colour used on computer screens.

A purple hue in terms of colour theory, magenta is evoked by light having less power in green wavelengths than in blue/violet and red wavelengths (magenta does not have wavelengths)

In terms of physiology, the colour is stimulated in the brain when the eye reports input from short wave blue cone cells along with a sub-sensitivity of the long wave cones which respond secondarily to that same deep blue colour, but with little or no input from the middle wave cones. The brain interprets that combination as some hue of magenta or purple, depending on the relative strengths of the cone responses.

In the Munsell colour system, magenta is called red–purple.

If the spectrum is wrapped to form a colour wheel, magenta (additive secondary) appears midway between red and violet. Violet and red, the two components of magenta, are at opposite ends of the visible spectrum and have very different wavelengths. The additive secondary colour magenta, as noted above, is made by combining violet and red light at equal intensity; it is not present in the spectrum itself.

Fuchsia and magentaEdit

In optics, fuchsia and magenta are essentially the same colour. The web colours fuchsia and magenta are completely identical, and are made by mixing exactly the same proportions of blue and red light. In design and printing, there is a little more variation. The French version of fuchsia in the RGB colour model and in printing contains a higher proportion of red than the American version of fuchsia. Fuchsia flowers themselves, which inspired both colours, have a variety of colours, from fuchsia to purple to red.



Fuchsine and magenta dye (1859)Edit

An 1864 map showing the Duchy of Bouillon in magenta

The colour magenta was the result of the industrial chemistry revolution of the mid-nineteenth century, which began with the invention by William Perkin of mauveine in 1856, which was the first synthetic aniline dye. The enormous commercial success of the dye and the new colour it produced, mauve, inspired other chemists in Europe to develop new colours made from aniline dyes.[3]

In France, François-Emmanuel Verguin, the director of the chemical factory of Louis Rafard near Lyon, tried many different formulae before finally in late 1858 or early 1859, mixing aniline with carbon tetrachloride, producing a reddish-purple dye which he called "fuchsine", after the colour of the flower of the fuchsia plant.[6] He quit the Rafard factory and took his colour to a firm of paint manufacturers, Francisque and Joseph Renard, who began to manufacture the dye in 1859.

In the same year, two British chemists, Chambers Nicolson and George Maule, working at the laboratory of the paint manufacturer George Simpson, located in Walworth, south of London, made another aniline dye with a similar red-purple colour, which they began to manufacture in 1860 under the name "roseine". In 1860 they changed the name of the colour to "magenta", in honor of the Battle of Magenta fought between the French and Austrians at Magenta, Lombardy the year before, and the new colour became a commercial success.[3][7]

Starting in 1935 the family of quinacridone dyes was developed. These have colours ranging from red to violet, so nowadays a quinacridone dye is often used for magenta. Various tones of magenta—light, bright, brilliant, vivid, rich, or deep—may be formulated by adding varying amounts of white to quinacridone artist's paints.

Another dye used for magenta is Lithol Rubine BK. One of its uses is as a food colouring.

Process magenta (pigment magenta; printer's magenta) (1890s)Edit

Process magenta (subtractive primary, sRGB approximation)
      Color coordinates
Hex triplet#FF0090
sRGBB  (rgb)(255, 0, 144)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(0, 100, 44, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v)(326°, 100%, 100%)
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid purplish red
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

In colour printing, the colour called process magenta, pigment magenta, or printer's magenta is one of the three primary pigment colours which, along with yellow and cyan, constitute the three subtractive primary colours of pigment. (The secondary colours of pigment are blue, green, and red.) As such, the hue magenta is the complement of green: magenta pigments absorb green light; thus magenta and green are opposite colours.

The CMYK printing process was invented in the 1890s, when newspapers began to publish colour comic strips.

Process magenta is not an RGB colour, and there is no fixed conversion from CMYK primaries to RGB. Different formulations are used for printer's ink, so there may be variations in the printed colour that is pure magenta ink. A typical formulation of process magenta is shown in the colour box at right.

Web colours magenta and fuchsiaEdit

Magenta (Fuchsia)
      Color coordinates
Hex triplet#FF00FF
sRGBB  (rgb)(255, 0, 255)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(0, 100, 0, 0)
HSV       (h, s, v)(300°, 100%, 100%)
ISCC–NBS descriptorVivid purple
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

At right is the web colour magenta. It is one of the three secondary colours in the RGB colour model. On the RGB colour wheel, magenta is the colour between rose and violet, and halfway between red and blue.

Magenta (fuchsia)

This colour is called magenta in X11 and fuchsia in HTML. In the RGB colour model, it is created by combining equal intensities of red and blue light. The two web colours magenta and fuchsia are exactly the same colour. Sometimes the web colour magenta is called electric magenta or electronic magenta.

While the magenta used in printing and the web colour have the same name, they have important differences. Process magenta (the colour used for magenta printing ink—also called printer's or pigment magenta) is much less vivid than the colour magenta achievable on a computer screen. CMYK printing technology cannot accurately reproduce on paper the colour on the computer screen. When the web colour magenta is reproduced on paper, it is called fuchsia and it is physically impossible for it to appear on paper as vivid as on a computer screen.

Colored pencils and crayons called "magenta" are usually coloured the colour of process magenta (printer's magenta) shown above.

In science and cultureEdit

In artEdit

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) used a shade of magenta in 1890 in his portrait of Marie Lagadu, and in some of his South Seas paintings.
  • Henri Matisse and the members of the Fauvist movement used magenta and other non-traditional colours to surprise viewers, and to move their emotions through the use of bold colours.
  • Since the mid-1960s, water based fluorescent magenta paint has been available to paint psychedelic black light paintings. (Fluorescent cerise, fluorescent chartreuse yellow, fluorescent blue, and fluorescent green.)

In literatureEdit

In astronomyEdit

  • Astronomers have reported that spectral class T brown dwarfs (the ones with the coolest temperatures except for the recently discovered Y brown dwarfs) are coloured magenta because of absorption by sodium and potassium atoms of light in the green portion of the spectrum.[8][9][10]

In biology: magenta insects, birds, fish, and mammalsEdit

In botanyEdit

Magenta is a common colour for flowers, particularly in the tropics and sub-tropics. Because magenta is the complementary colour of green, magenta flowers have the highest contrast with the green foliage, and therefore are more visible to the animals needed for their pollination.

In businessEdit

The German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom uses a magenta logo. It has sought to prevent use of any similar colour by other businesses, even those in unrelated fields, such as the insurance company Lemonade.[11]

In public transportEdit

Magenta was the English name of Tokyo's Oedo subway line colour. It was later changed to ruby.

In transportationEdit

In aircraft autopilot systems, the path that pilot or plane should follow to its destination is usually indicated in cockpit displays using the colour magenta.[12]

In numismaticsEdit

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a Magenta coloured banknote of ₹2000 denomination on 8 November 2016 under Mahatma Gandhi New Series. This is the highest currency note printed by RBI that is in active circulation in India.

In vexillology and heraldryEdit

Magenta is an extremely rare colour to find on heraldic flags and coats of arms, since its adoption dates back to relatively recent times. However, there are some examples of its use:

In politicsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (1964)
  2. ^ definition of magenta in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)
  3. ^ a b c Philip Ball (2001). Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color (illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 214. ISBN 978-0226036281. Retrieved 27 July 2014. Originally referenced from French edition pages 311–312 ISBN 978-2754105033
  4. ^ St. Clair, Kassia (2016). The Secret Lives of Colour. London: John Murray. p. 167–168. ISBN 9781473630819. OCLC 936144129.
  5. ^ Parkin, Alan (2015). Digital Imaging Primer. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 278. ISBN 9783540856191.
  6. ^ St. Clair, Kassia (2016). The Secret Lives of Colour. London: John Murray. p. 167–168. ISBN 9781473630819. OCLC 936144129.
  7. ^ Maerz and Paul. A Dictionary of Color, New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 126 Plate 52 Color Sample K12–Magenta
  8. ^ Brown Dwarves (go halfway down the website to see a picture of a magenta brown dwarf)
  9. ^ Burrows et al. The theory of brown dwarfs and extrasolar giant planets. Reviews of Modern Physics 2001; 73: 719-65
  10. ^ An Artist's View of Brown Dwarf Types (26 June 2002) Dr. Robert Hurt of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
  11. ^ Slefo, George P. (November 4, 2019). "T-Mobile says it owns exclusive rights to the color magenta". Ad Age. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  12. ^ Mingle, Katie (2015-06-23). "Children of the Magenta (Automation Paradox, pt. 1)". 99% Invisible.
  13. ^ Magenta Foundation. Organization website Archived 2006-08-27 at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit